Siblings fight – and in other news, water is wet.
Fighting with our siblings is how most of us first learn about conflict, conflict resolution and the importance of clear communication, but sadly not all of us grow out of this argumentative phase. Often, childhood disagreements are carried on long into adulthood -though they tend to find new ways to come to life.
Increasing concerns about finances and money management become some heavy hitters in the ‘difficult things to talk to our sibling about over Christmas lunch’ playbook. It’s right up there with politics and your current relationship status.
New research out of the US has revealed that almost 65% of siblings talk about money, focusing mostly on another family member’s financial situation, long term financial goals and health care costs.
In general, the survey concluded these issues were talked about because they are relatively neutral areas – we can think of them as the ‘sibling finance-chat safe zone’.
Topics that are avoided by siblings (for what we can only assume are obvious personal reasons) are managing debts, saving up and/or paying off a house or educations plans, plus the dreaded life insurance chat. These can be placed securely in the ‘sibling finance-chat NO GO ZONE’.
Topics that need to be discussed and are the most likely to end in a drama include how inheritance gets divided and which of you supports your parents financially the most. We can’t avoid these topics, but we can manage the arguments they may create.
“Open And Honest” Financial Communication
Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial advice strategy at Ameriprise Financial suggests keeping clear and open communication as a priority between siblings.
“Open and honest financial communication about money among family members can be productive for everyone involved. One of the best ways to make that happen is to simply listen and take a non-judgmental approach, one that won’t make your sibling feel threatened or embarrassed,” she said.
But when all is said (or not said, as the case may be) and done, we really do love our siblings. I mean, who else can you want to strangle one minute and hug the next?
Plus, no one else will ever really understand what it’s like growing up with a mum and dad like yours – you can’t let money talk get in the way of a bond like that.
Text: Holly Royce, Bauersyndication.com.au, Photo: 123RF